The overflowing basket of the Tel Aviv Dance Festival

Over three weeks, the Suzanne Dellal Center will host twenty-eight performances by artists from Israel and abroad, many of them premieres.

 AVIV HOROWITZ will present 'Once Upon a World', which is a piece that draws on circus arts. (photo credit: KFIR BOLITIN)
AVIV HOROWITZ will present 'Once Upon a World', which is a piece that draws on circus arts.
(photo credit: KFIR BOLITIN)

As Naomi Perlov sees it, dance festivals are like baskets containing carefully curated items that audiences can take home to consider in the days, weeks and months following. Each festival has a different nature and, as such, provides attendees with a unique blend of concepts and aesthetics to mull over. This year’s Tel Aviv Dance Festival is the first in-person summer festival Perlov has put together since taking up the reins of the Suzanne Dellal Center and its basket is a culmination of previously programmed creations that could not be attended due to Covid and new works.

Over three weeks, the Center will host twenty-eight performances by artists from Israel and abroad, many of them premieres. “When I attend festivals abroad, I get so much at once. It’s a nice basket to think about going forward. There’s something in the intensity that is correct because it gives the Israeli audience a one-time opportunity to see things that they can’t see the rest of the year. My belief is that our job is to open Israeli culture to new things,” says Perlov over the phone.

Perlov speaks quickly and passionately. Having spent decades in the dance world, both in Israel and in Europe, she has an in-depth knowledge of the international community, both audiences and practitioners. Among her passions is developing young talent, which she turned from vision into reality with the Maslool Professional Dance Program, which she founded in 2007.

The Tel Aviv Dance program sets its sights on even younger individuals, offering performances for children and the whole family.

“I want to open the dance community to kids and parents. They are bored during the summer and the center can invite parents and kids to be part of great events. Roy Assaf with premiere a new version of Gornischt for the whole family. Aviv Horowitz will present Once Upon A World, which is a piece that draws on circus arts. Rotem Wolk will do The Hidden Safari, which is a wonderful performance in which she places animals all over the centre and takes children on a hunt to find them. These are great pieces for kids and families that come to the festival, who might be exposed to new things,” she says.

 Tel Aviv Dance Festival. (credit: KFIR BOLITIN) Tel Aviv Dance Festival. (credit: KFIR BOLITIN)

Another passion of Perlov’s is hip-hop and, she divulges, she is thrilled to finally have found a way to bring some very important artists from the field to Israel. “I have dreamed of this moment since I was given this role and even before, when I lived in France. Now I am able to give a platform to hip-hop.”

The festival will host a mini platform called Cypher Connection. “There are five days of international and Israeli artists that will come for workshops, jam sessions, a conference and an evening at the Teder. A lot of hip-hop dancers exist in the contemporary dance scene, and hip-hop artists use contemporary elements. House, crump and vogue all exist in contemporary dance. We will have Henry Link from Brooklyn and ORB from Washington. It’s a mini platform in the festival and it gives a big impact.”

Other international guests include Silvia Garibaldi from Italy, Bodhi Project from Austria and Neta Yerushalmi from New York. In most cases, the international guests will not only perform but also teach masterclasses and workshops to local dancers. “I really believe in innovation and education,” explains Perlov.

Other works

Also in the Tel Aviv Dance basket are a number of interdisciplinary works. The festival will open with a performance by Castle in Time Orchestra, conducted by former dancer Matan Daskal. Nadav Barnea will present The Dreamers, a sound and light performance, Neta Weiner will screen A Boy Named Neta and Stav Struz will unveil her recent collaboration with film director Sergei Parajanov.

The festival will also host a number of premieres by Israeli artists such as Rotem Tashach, Nur Garabli, Rebecca Laufer and Matteus van Rossum, Lior Tavori and Dafi Eltabeb.

“I have been thinking a lot about the experience of a festival,” explains Perlov. “It’s very powerful. We really need for the centre to have a yearly moment that we need to invest in. That is Tel Aviv Dance.”

Tel Aviv Dance will take place from July 28 through August 13. For more information, visit